Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A very big potato and a very small hydrangea

Hello all! J and I didn't get around to too many things around the house this weekend. We went to a Wine, Food, and Arts festival on Sunday with some friends. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the giant potato that we saw there.

This was actually a gigantic truck that was advertising for Idaho Potatoes. As you may have read from last year's trip to Idaho, I am quite fond of Idaho, so it was pretty cool. We have also been pretty obsessed with Game of Thrones (the TV show, not the novels) recently. We have blown through seasons 1 and 2 over the past 3 weeks. It's a pretty entertaining show. A word of warning: there is a lot of violence, far more than I have ever seen on TV or in a movie. And there is also a lot of sex and nudity. If you can get past these things, the plot line is really quite intriguing.

Anyway, I ended up picking up a small little hydrangea plant from Wegman's for about $7. Here is how the front yard was looking this weekend. I am still loving how the mulch is looking. I debated where to put the new plant for a bit.

I ended up putting it here. My plan is to fill out the front more with more perennials. I am hoping our little hydrangea will end up taking root and really thriving. Finger's crossed!

I can't stop taking photos of the little pink blooms.

I also re-potted the spider plant into its bigger pot, where it will have its babies that I can harvest and replant. That was a weird sentence.

I also thinned out (way thinned out) the English Ivy. I had waited too long to do this, so it was hard to separate out part of the plant. But the ivy grows pretty fast, so I am sure it will fill out again soon.

I hope everyone else had a fantastic weekend!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

New pillow

Hello all! I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. We went out for a hike today, which was a lot of fun. I'm writing today to talk about a project I finished last weekend, but just haven't had the time to blog about yet. I ended up making a new pillow for our living room! We had 4 pillows that came with the couch, and I recently bought one from Joss and Main, but they seemed simple enough to make, so I decided to give it a go. I'm not entirely sure this was cheaper than buying a pillow (the fabric was a little pricey), but it was fun, and would definitely be cheaper if I had used a less expensive fabric. 

1. Fabric (I ordered mine from Online Fabric Store)
2. Pillow form (mine is 20" x 20")
3. Zipper

First, I carefully measured and cut 2 squares. I added a quarter of an inch on all sides. I think I had added too much room when I was making the bench cushion, so I remedied that this time. I also used a roller cutter and a flat edge to make my cuts nice and straight, which really helped while I was sewing.

Then, I started sewing the edges together. The right sides of the fabric should be facing each other. I sewed 3 out of the 4 sides this way.

I then moved on to the zipper side. I had picked up a 20" off-white zipper from Jo Ann fabrics. In retrospect, I should have gotten an 18" one, but I made the 20" zipper work. I spent about 5 minutes figuring out the best way to sew the zipper onto the fabric. But you basically need to sew the zipper to the right side of the fabric so that the zipper's fabric is inside the pillowcase.

And that was pretty much it. After I assembled everything, I washed the pillowcase and ironed it flat. 

Here's the new pillow with the Joss and Main pillow. I really should have fluffed up the couch before this photo, but you get the idea. The fabric actually goes really well with our furniture and decor in the living room, so I am quite pleased. 

And this is totally random, but I recently found a Kinder egg in a local bakery. Technically, these things aren't legal in the US (see news story here). So, I was quite shocked to find one. It sat in our house for a while until I decided I really wanted to eat it.

And guess what I found? Mine had a turtle inside! I love turtles, so this was kind of awesome. I still thinks it's ridiculous that a toy like this is banned, but semi-automatic weapons aren't. But that's not what this blog is about. :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mulch ado about nothing

Besides being Earth Day, today is also a special day for us and this blog. Two years ago today, we bought our house and were officially homeowners! The start of this blog was shortly thereafter. It's pretty hard to believe how fast time flies sometimes. I need to do another post like I did last year about what we have done and what we plan to still do. I'll get on that at some point soon.

In the meantime, I have another gardening update from this past weekend. We actually got our front mulching done, which is pretty awesome. We actually managed to go to church, get the mulch, mulch, and cleanup all before 1 pm. It was pretty fantastic. I always love how fresh mulch really makes the front look so polished. We used 11 bags this year (and probably could have used 12). I didn't take any before pictures since you can easily see the last post about our planting for how it was looking. And I really have to thank J for all the mulching. I really didn't do all that much except pull weeds while he did all the hard work.

Our pansies seem to be doing well, even though they haven't really gotten much fuller yet.

Our hydrangea has gotten more leaves, but I haven't seen any buds yet. I am hoping I will soon.

I was so excited to see buds on our rhododendron bush that we planted last year. I was getting slightly worried that it wasn't healthy or growing, so I have renewed hope for our tiny bush.

That's all for now. Happy 2 year anniversary house! Here, I got you these flowers. :)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Learning from my mistakes

Hello folks! What a week we've been having. This past week was already busy in our little world due to me taking a week-long out-of-state class. And then the world seemed to just fall apart this week. It was ridiculous and so terribly sad how many horrible things happened this week. So, I hope this post brings a little bit of happiness in the way of humor. See, it's another post where we get to laugh at my mistakes (and hopefully learn from my errors).

It started when a scratch on our front door turned into a bigger scratch. And then the peeling just got out of control. Do you remember when I painted the front door back in January? Well, there was a few things I didn't do right.
1. I did not properly prepare the door. By this, I mean sanding (or roughing up the door surface) and priming.
2. I did not paint during optimal weather conditions. It was cold.
3. I am not a huge fan of the paint I chose. However, that could have been overcome by preparation work.

So, instead, I made much more work for myself. The first step was to peel off the paint.

The majority of it came off in these big sheets. It was so weird.

Underneath, the old paint was perfectly preserved.

But then, there were some paint spots that had actually properly adhered to the door. Except, since I was stripping everything down, this situation was not optimal. So, for many days, our front door was in some form of disarray. J started joking that it looked like we lived in a ghetto house with a door looking like this.

Eventually, through a combination of sanding and scraping, I got the remainder of the paint off the door. I gave the door a thorough sanding after that, and wiped it down with a damp rag. Once it was dry, it was ready to be primed. I used Kilz primer on the whole thing (2 coats).

I then painted 3 coats of the paint (Benjamin exterior paint) on the door. I tested it and everything, and it seems to have adhered very well to the door. I think I like Sherwin Williams paint a little better than Benjamin Moore, especially for trim and doors. Our interior paint by Sherwin Williams for our trim is awesome. The Benjamin Moore type seemed too thin or something.

Final result.

I know, it looks the same. But, it's not peeling off the door, so that's a huge improvement. I just won't think about how many hours I wasted by not properly preparing my surface. It was a lot. But, I won't make the same mistake next time for sure.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

C'ville part 2, TJ's birthday

Okay, I'm now following up on the rest of our trip to Charlottesville, VA. If you missed part 1, you can check it out here.

On Saturday (yesterday), we woke up and decided to grab some breakfast in town. The hotel's breakfast seemed a little sub-par. So, we checked out of the hotel and headed over to the Blue Moon Diner, which was delicious! I had a smoked salmon and scallion omelet. After breakfast, we headed over to Monticello. It was an absolutely beautiful day. It was warm, almost cloudless and all the flowers were in bloom. It also happened to be TJ's (Thomas Jefferson) birthday, so it seemed very fitting that we were spending the day at Monticello.

Here are a few of the pictures I grabbed throughout the day. We checked out the grounds prior to our house tour starting.

Jefferson's gardens.


I loved the cherry blossoms. So much less crowded than DC, too. :)

The house.

J and I. I actually really love this photo.

I took a lot of pictures of flowers. But they were just so pretty.

 "Front" of the house.

After a lovely visit to Monticello (the house tour was really cool), we headed back to downtown Charlottesville and walked around the downtown mall area. It was a really cool pedestrian mall area with shops and restaurants. After looking around, we grabbed a late lunch/early dinner at Citizen's Burger, which was fantastic! We then headed back home. There was still a lot more cool stuff that we wanted to do (James Monroe's house, wineries, touring UVA), but we were pretty tired and decided that we could do a fun weekend trip another time to check out more of the town.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures of our fun C'ville weekend.